PR In Progress

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Thoughts on Public Relations, Communications, Social Media, Sports and anything else in my life…

Social Media or Bust…Part 1

A Reflection and an Epiphany

When I began my studies at the University of South Florida in 2005, I took an English Composition class which required the students to blog once a week about anything they wish. Week after week, I would complain about this assignment because I couldn’t see the value in it. I felt that I was creating useless posts that no one would ever read. And you know what? I was. I had yet to understand the benefits of social media.

 

It was around that same time that I was first introduced to Facebook. Another useless online platform that was created to allow people to post their party pictures and prove their social prowess with a large friend count—or so I thought…

 

The fact is, I fought social media for nearly two years until I was sitting in my Principles of Public Relations class and was let in on a little secret: Public Relations loves social media!

 

The onset of social media meant new and creative avenues for PR practitioners to spread their word, in conjunction with traditional media. Blogs, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., have all created endless opportunities for PR people to tap into and target specialized publics. Had I recognized this and accepted it then, I could be a social media expert now!

 

Social Media for PR Students

As a student trying to break into social media, I have learned a few things:

  • Take it slow. I spent nearly a month reading blogs about public relations and social media before I began writing and commenting. The beauty of a blog is to voice your own thoughts and opinions, but be well read and knowledgeable about your topic. Spouting assumptions and fallacies are a fast-lane to losing credibility.
  • Be open-minded. My little anecdote was foreshadowing this tip. Even if the true value isn’t right on the surface, don’t automatically dismiss it. Social media is a relatively new area and is constantly evolving. Grab your metaphorical surfboard and catch the social media wave!
  • Be enthusiastic. If you find something you think is really cool, share it. Link to it on your blog, “tweet” it via Twitter or create a new Facebook group. Your network will appreciate the heads up and will reciprocate.
  • Be respectful, professional and mature. Always act according to these three things. Remember that when you enter the realm of social media, you are creating your own online brand. You want people to recognize your brand for positive things, not negative. *Insert golden rule here.*
  • LEARN. Through my very limited endeavors in social media so far, I have learned more than I could ever be taught in the classroom. You must take the initiative to seek out great information and soak it in. For great insight into social media, visit Lara Kretler’s blog, Chris Brogan’s blog, Strategic Public Relations and Ragan Communications.

As PR students, we need to become more aware of social media and how it applies to our profession. As I stated before, my knowledge is still very limited because I have only tapped the surface. Hopefully social media will become a larger part of the public relations curriculum. The earlier students are exposed to these tools, the more efficient we can become in our online practices.

 

Finally…

When preparing for my final paper for this semester, I realized that a traditional essay would not serve this social media project well. So, I decided that I would turn my paper into a series of blog posts to flow with the setting. So, consider this my “TermBlog.”

Do not let this fool you though. I would love comments and feedback about anything I write. This would not be the appropriate learning environment for me if I wasn’t given feedback about my work.

 

Stay tuned for the next installment about blogging!

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Filed under: Social Media, Writing

One Response

  1. Lara Kretler says:

    Nate, thanks for including me among your recommended blogs to read – I am honored. I think social media is a great way for PR students and graduates to set themselves apart and market themselves to hiring managers. Social media is a hot and rapidly growing field with PR taking the lead in many cases. You are way ahead of the curve with your blog and other social media excursions, so kudos to you and keep sharing your adventures here!

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